Branislava is CEO and co/founder of a well-known company Infostud. She became an entrepreneur when she was only 20 years old. By education, she is a Communicology specialist. She won numerous awards for her work and some of the most important are: “Žena zmaj” award for female entrepreneurship, best 30 entrepreneurs under 30 in Serbia, her name appeared in a book “50 successful business women in Serbia” in 2009, “Elle Style Award” in 2012, and others.
SW: Dear Branislava, for a start, please tell us something about you and your job.
BGS: My job is to make sure that Infostud group is growing and developing – inside, by supporting our existing businesses, and out – by creating opportunities to expand on some other areas. While doing that, my focus is on the team. I want to make sure that we have a happy, strong and motivated team who provides excellent results and has financial stability. To be able to achieve all of this and to be content, my primary job is to balance between my business ambitions, my personal development, and my family.
SW: You became an entrepreneur when you were only 20 years old. Can you describe your beginnings?
BGS: The beginning was quite a spontaneous. I never thought that it was something special. We just started to work, and we have devoted ourselves to the idea. It all came naturally. I was aware that I am just a kid, without any relevant experience, which was something that is quite visible when you are 20, and you want to sell something to the Dean of the Faculty. But, our youth didn’t stop us from moving forward and getting experience on the go. First moment when I realized that we are building a company was the moment when we first hired someone and moved to the real office and started introducing some organization in our work.
SW: Is it difficult to be a female entrepreneur in Serbia?
BGS: I believe that it is the same as being a male entrepreneur in Serbia. In my opinion, the difference can be significant only when a female entrepreneur wants to start a family. She needs to take some time off for her maternity leave and later she needs to take care of her children (which is a problem only if she don’t have proper support from her partner). This is why I believe that it is crucial to promote the idea of shared family care and even shared maternity leave (this is a general practice in Scandinavia, so why we wouldn’t try it, too).
SW: What is your advice to all women who want to be successful in business? How should they fight for their place in the business world?
BGS: First, they need to decide that they want to be successful in the business world, and then they should devote themselves to that idea. I think that there is no need to analyze whether your gender is advantage or disadvantage, but to focus on things that matter and do a good job. Everything else that I would say are classical career development advice.
SW: You won many awards for your work. How all of these awards affected your career?
BGS: These are all lovely awards and a great addition to good results that makes me feel good and that I am proud of Infostud and our team. Awards help because they give you a confirmation that things you do make sense and they also help you to become recognized. Awards can be helpful in early stages of career and business.
SW: What do you think about an event such as Startup Weekend?
BGS: I am very glad that such events exist because they encourage building a new entrepreneurial mentality in Serbia. Such events also help people believe that it is possible to start your own business. Without such a lean approach to testing a business model, it is not possible to rebuild our economy. Small and medium companies are quite significant to our economy renewal, and ICT is one of the beacons in this field.
SW: What is your advice to all young people who wants to start their business? What is a key to success, in your opinion?
BGS: Different things are key factors in various stages of business development. In the beginning, founders are the key. Their ability to launch the idea to the market and to work on it while there are no financial results. After that stage, the key is an ability to build a strong and successful team that you can rely on. As your business grows the key is to create a healthy organizational structure (opposed to a startup where you don’t need a structure to be successful). Finally, the key is to recognize the moment you’re in, to be flexible and to prepare for the next stage of development which may require the different approach to the business.